Addressing the press yesterday with some stakeholders from the sector, Iringa Regional Commissioner Queen Sendiga said the meeting will be held for two days at Wambi Primary School grounds in Mafinga, Mufindi district of the region.
“The meeting aims to bring together forestry stakeholders from within and outside the country as well as forest service providers, forest sector investors, policy makers, institutions and the ministry responsible for forestry,” said Sendiga.
According to her, the ministry is collaborating with the PO-RALG, Ministry of Investment, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) and manufacturers and distributors of forest products processing technologies in organizing it. It also collaborates with Forest education institutions, stakeholders in the transportation sector, financial institutions, as well as various stakeholders in the value chain of the forest sector.
Sendiga added that the forum will feature various debates and exhibitions of investment opportunities available in the forestry sector, technology for processing forest products as well as works by traders who have already invested in forests.
“There will also be trips to visit investment sites made in the forestry sector with the aim of learning more,” she said.
She asserted that the investment meeting in the Iringa region is a reflection of the region's various efforts to stimulate investment. It is estimated that the country's growing forests covers an area of approximately 325,000 hectares and more than 40% of the area is located in the Iringa region.
“Investment in the entire value chain in the forestry sector is still low compared to the opportunities available and making forests account for 75 percent of revenue in Iringa region;
Many investors are focused on the production of timber, poles, as well as engineered wood products such as plywood. But there are more opportunities such as paper production that is widely used in schools, quality furniture that can compete in the domestic and foreign markets, the manufacture of matches, toothpicks and other products,” adds Sendiga.
However, she added, wood processing has been done using poor technologies that reduce efficiency and lead to the loss of raw materials.